'Open Access' refers to scholarly literature available online digitally for free and free of many copyright restrictions.
Open Access (OA) literature may be published in open access journals, making it free and freely available immediately upon publication, or it may be published in traditional journals and made open some time after its initial publication through self-archiving.
Read about Open Access
Free download of Peter Suber's primer on Open Access, covering different types of OA, copyright and licensing, benefits to authors and readers, and more. Suber is the Director of the Harvard Office for Scholarly Communication and a senior researcher at SPARC.
Open access journals provide access to their content without charging users for money. This means that users can 'read, download, copy, distribute, print, search or link to the full texts'1 of the articles in OA journals. OA journals often have the same sorts of peer-review processes in place at traditional journals, which charge libraries and their users subscription or access fees.
Open access journals use a variety of funding models to publish their content. One of the most common of these is the article processing charge (APC), which charges authors to publish in the journal. In many cases, the research funder or the scholar's institution pays these fees.
Find articles from open access journals in your discipline by visiting the open access resources page for your area:
1. Read the Budapest Open Access Initiative (Budapest Open Access Initiative) http://www.budapestopenaccessinitiative.org/read